Bike for beards
Flyer for Bike for beardsTwitter/Shane Pittson

About 50 students of Brigham Young University rallied on wheels to protest the Mormon Church-owned school's ban on beards on Friday.

Student including 23-year-old International Studies Major Shane Pittson became fed up of the ridiculous beard ban, launched the petition drive to get the school to lift the ban.

"I love BYU, I love being a student here," Pittson told The Salt Lake Tribune, "but the rule on beards I find particularly outdated."

Pittson said he had considered organising such an event for a few years, but finally decided a few days ago to make a website and plan a rally with the campaign slogan, "Bike for Beards."

The protesters had donned paper beards, biked, skate-boarded and roller-bladed around the campus, from the Provo City Library to the campus on Friday night to raise awareness about "Bike for Beards," the petition to lift the archaic beard ban.

Although Pittson enjoyed growing his own beard in the summer, he shaved it off before the protest. "I figured it would make more of an impact to say, I respect the university and here I am abiding by the rules but asking for change," he said.

The BYU honour code, which was created in the 1940s, states that "men are expected to be clean-shaven" and beards are not acceptable. However, students with rashes and other related medical conditions can be exempted from the prohibition.

In 1971, the then-University President Dallin Oaks defended the beard ban as "contemporary and pragmatic," as beards and long hair on men were at the time, associated with elements of "slovenly appearance" and linked to "protest, revolution and rebellion against authority" and symbolic of "hippie and drug culture". However, he did add that he would be surprised if the ban was not eventually recalled.

Ironically, Brigham Young, the man after whom the school is named, in fact used to sport a beard, much like other early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The campaign has received much publicity, with mostly supportive feedback, especially from students and groups like Bearduary, which calls itself a "bona fide celebration of the tradition and beauty of the beard, the outward expression of man's inner soul."

Bearduary tweeted in support of the Bike For Beards campaign, "STAND UP for your beards!! Private universities can ban them? Let's help these men put a stop to that."

"Whoever organized this is my hero. I hope something comes out of it :) #bikeforbeards," posted Sam Bigelo.

Even many women expressed their solidarity towards the cause, with users like Malorie Fleischer tweeting, "Turns out I have to work tonight so I can't come to Bike for Beards ): but let me just say, HOORAH FOR BEARDS!!!"

Among other things, the university's mandatory student contract also forbids premarital sex, alcohol consumption and tattoos. Women are forbidden from wearing "sleeveless, strapless, backless or revealing" or form-fitting clothing, as well as any outfit with slits or hems above the knee.